TV Without A License: Best of the Catch-Up Services

Whoever decided on the extortionate price of £149.50 for television license clearly did not have the student in mind. But never fear, a cheaper, easier and frankly cosier way to watch TV is readily available in the form of catch-up services (laptop in bed anyone?). 4OD, ITV Player, iPlayer, the favourites are all there, and the best bit is that no license is required. Don't worry, my anxious flatmate checked.

If the ever-failing Skins is not your cup of tea, nor a spot of Easties, perhaps you need some pointers on the good telly that is out there. Here we have a selection of the best of internet catch-up for any situation, so fire up the computer, get comfy and enjoy this selection of quality programming.


For dinner-time viewing: Come Date With Me, 4OD.

Yes, as the title suggests, it is indeed a take on classic Come Dine With Me, just sexier. Not only do you get to drool over some tasty dishes (and I'm not just talking about the food), I am pleased to say it's the same wonderful voiceover, sarcastic and insulting as ever. As it's on 4OD, you can watch the current series in its entirety, and the first week sees 'boy crazy' Tracey with 'boobs' (her words, not mine) searching for love amongst some generally ridiculous dinner guests.


For when you are in need of a laugh: Kevin Bridges: What's The Story?, iPlayer.

This is a great little series about home-grown Scot, Kevin Bridges, and his journey to funny. Formatted as a mix of his stand-up, and interviews with those who have influenced his work, Kevin gives us a truly hilarious insight into the work that goes into crafting comedy. Any Americans who are having trouble understanding a) British humour or b) Scottish accents, this is a must. Fans will be pleased to hear that Chad Hogan features, and for those of you who don't who that is, I urge you to watch and challenge you not to cry with laughter.


For those looking for a bit of television drama: Jeremy Kyle, ITV Player, and Desperate Scousewives, 4OD. 

Terrible, terrible 'reality' television, which honestly makes us all thankful for the protective charm which seems to shroud this little town. Jeremy Kyle goes stateside this summer, so Americans, familiarise yourselves ASAP. Think angry Jerry Springer with lots of DNA tests, lie detectors, and 'guests' who don't seem to have washed their hair in weeks. Is the baby mine or my mum's uncle’s? Am I accidently sleeping with my half brother? As for the Scousewives, like Made In Chelsea and The Only Way Is Essex, nobody really knows how 'real' it is, though my guess is not very, but seeing problems played out in Liverpudlian accents is somehow soothing. WAGs with dreams beyond a box in the Emirates sleep with each other's boyfriends, shop and bleach themselves. Yes, literally.


For the hangover day: Sorority Girls, 4OD.

Although this aired before Christmas, if you are yet to watch it, then do so after a night out. We have a big enough American population here to confirm that this is not accurate representation of sorority life, but it’s still funny, mindless viewing. Watch freshers moan and claw at each other, whilst completing challenges to impress some absolutely stunning American girls. Women are indeed a curious species, and this programme humorously highlights this whilst prodding us to consider our seemingly unavoidable need to conform. Men, fantastic eye candy as well, so if it doesn’t cure tequila-mouth then I don’t know what will.


Title image sourced from Strand's Studio/Rugby, North Dakota. Other images sourced from Channel 4, BBC and The Guardian. Compiled by Nicole Horgan.